Using fertilizer injector system depends on lifestyle

Q: I recently installed an underground fertilizer injector, and I was told to discontinue fertilizing by hand. Does this injector replace fertilizing plants by hand? Is it beneficial as a supplement? If so, how often should it be used?

A: If you are a serious gardener and you have a diversity of plants in your landscape, you will still need to fertilize important plants by hand. The people telling you this are not horticulturists or even serious gardeners. On the other hand, it depends on your lifestyle.

Your type of system has a plastic, underground tank that is filled with water with fertilizer dissolved in it. The fertilizer solution is sucked into the irrigation water as plants are irrigated. These systems are passive and don’t inject fertilizer into the water. So, they are not terribly accurate.

All plants getting irrigation water also get the same fertilizer put in the tank. Without getting into much detail, plants receiving more water also receive more fertilizer. The reverse is true. Those plants receiving less water, receive less fertilizer.

In my opinion, it is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind way of fertilizing plants. For some people, it will work and depends on your lifestyle.

Landscape plants can be very diverse in their need for fertilizer. Some landscape plants are fertilized once a year; others, multiple times a year. Some landscape plants like high-phosphorus fertilizers. Some landscape plants like high-nitrogen fertilizers. Some don’t like much fertilizer. Others like lots of fertilizer.

On the flipside, if you have lots of landscape plants that have similar fertilizer needs, then these types of devices can save you time and probably improve the look of your landscape. But I don’t think it will save you any money unless you learn and do it yourself.

Also, they aren’t as accurate as true injectors and proportioners. Commercial fertilizer injectors are expensive. They are meant for fertilizing lots of plants that have similar fertilizer requirements.

An example is a single crop of greenhouse plants grown commercially. They require precise applications of fertilizer to establish a uniform crop.

One major drawback I hear about is the cost of operating it after installation. The fertilizer can be expensive, but plants use less fertilizer if they are given it slowly. So, if you shop around, you can find less expensive fertilizers to use.

Most of the cost is paying someone knowledgeable enough to fill the tank and service it. Several cases have resulted in not using it anymore because of the expense. It would be a good idea to learn how to do it yourself.

If you are a die-hard gardener, establish a baseline of fertilizer needed by all plants and use the injector. Those plants requiring special fertilizer needs, apply fertilizer by hand or foliar applications as needed.

Situations where it might not work include raised vegetable beds, rose beds, citrus, cactuses and succulents. But, in most circumstances, you probably will see an improvement in landscape plant growth using it.

Q: Does the dirt used for container plants have to be replaced if you keep fertilizing or adding compost to it?

A: Dirt in containers (let’s call it soil) should be replaced regardless of whether it was fertilized with mineral fertilizer or compost. Container soils last longer by adding compost to the container soil rather than mineral fertilizers alone. Continual use of mineral fertilizers degrades the soil and eventually ruins it, which can happen rather quickly.

That is because it’s not possible to put the right balance of minerals back into the soil once it has been depleted. Soil replenishment depends on the type of plant you’re growing, the size of it and the amount of soil in the container.

I would replace container soil every two to three years when using only mineral fertilizers. The organic content is nearly gone by that time.

If you’re using compost to rebuild the structure and adding nutrients to the soil, you can get by for maybe four or five years, perhaps even longer. I don’t know exactly how long, but the soil should be replaced eventually because it will get depleted.

This mineral depletion and soil replacement relate to a concept promoted in the 1700s called Liebig’s law of the minimum. It basically states that as any important nutrient needed by a plant is deficient, this nutrient affects the growth of the plant regardless of the other nutrients present. It is the main principle behind the reason for adding rock dust to a soil.

Adding other nutrients might be more than necessary for the plant, but if only one nutrient is in short supply, this one nutrient is the limiting factor controlling plant growth and health. Unless you spend about $70 to $100 for a soil analysis, you don’t know which nutrient is in short supply. So, you don’t know which fertilizer to add and how much.

It’s cheaper to replace the soil in the container than to submit a sample for a soil analysis and then buying the right fertilizers dictated by the soil analysis.

Q: I am planting a Santa Rosa plum tree after I read from your blog that was one of the best for the Las Vegas Valley. Do I need two of these Santa Rosa fruit trees to get fruit, or is one tree enough?

A: Santa Rosa plum is a good, old-fashioned plum. Plums do well in the eastern Mojave Desert. It is a midseason soft fruit around late June or early July.

It is self-fruitful, so it does not need a pollenizer tree. It is, however, a very good pollenizer for several pluot fruit trees in case you go in that direction later. That is a primary reason I recommend it.

Remember to dig the hole for it 3 to 4 feet wide and mix about half a cubic foot of compost with the soil where it is planted. Paint the trunk and limbs with latex (not oil-based) white paint diluted with an equal amount of water for sunburn protection on the trunk and limbs. That helps keep the borers from attacking it.

Water it thoroughly as you are planting to remove air pockets in the soil.

Stake the tree for one season of growth with a stake driven through the root ball into the soil beneath it. Wrap the trunk and stake together with green nursery tape to keep the root ball from moving during the first year of growth. Then remove it the start of the second year.

Q: What is the real difference between garden soil and potting soil, and can they be used in place of each other?

A: Most potting soils are very low in biological activity (microorganisms) and are a relatively sterile plant medium. I call potting soil a medium because it really doesn’t need to contain any soil at all.

It is a mixture of amendments, such as perlite, fine wood products and peat moss, that focus on making the soil light in weight, easily drained but still hold water, and sterile of biological organisms of all kinds. Potting soil is more desirable if it is sterile because of plant diseases and insects.

Garden soil is rich in organics and biological activity. They are heavier and very chemically diverse. Manufacturers of potting soil might add a little bit of fertilizer to their potting soil so that plants grow well after planting in it. But those fertilizers are added by the manufacturer. It’s not in the medium without adding.

The biggest complaint I get from homeowners when using a good brand of potting soil such as Fox Farm is the presence of fungus gnats. That is because the potting soil is not sterile. Ingredients are added by Fox Farm, perhaps compost, for its biological activity, which makes it expensive but a big no-no for major manufacturers of potting soils.

I would not recommend using a potting soil as a substitute for a garden soil. But potting soil might make a good amendment for garden soil.

People don’t want the hassle of fungus gnats. So, if you buy a good potting soil and you want to kill fungus gnats, put it in a clear plastic bag for a couple of days in full sun and let it cook. If the temperature inside the clear plastic bag gets up to about 160 degrees for just 30 minutes, the fungus gnats will be gone.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at Send questions to

Valentine's Day Brings Wet Weather To Las Vegas
Parts of the Las Vegas Valley received more than an inch of rain by 1 p.m. Thursday, triggering numerous vehicle accidents, sparking flooding and prompting at least two swift-water rescues in flood channels. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Artist sends love from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Artist Chris O'Rourke has a giant heart mounted in the back of pickup positioned for photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip on Valentine's Day 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't dampen weddings on Valentine's Day
Charolette Richards, owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel who has been performing weddings for 60 years, started Valentine’s Day 2019 by performing a wdding for Las Vegas couple David and Elaine Cook at the chapel’s Tunnel of Love drive-thru. Richards has over 100 weddings booked for Valentine’s Day. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Swift-water rescue in Las Vegas
The Clark County Fire Department rescued one person from the flooded Durango Wash in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy and soggy on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day across the Las Vegas Valley will be soggy and wet. A flood advisory has been issued for Clark County. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Early morning rainfall in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas valley was hit with rainfall early Thursday morning. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Learning how to create your own comic book
Jean Munson talks about the class she teaches at the Maximum Comics in Henderson on creating and publishing your own comic book.
Top Ladies of Distinction unveils second Las Vegas chapter
Officers Clair Hart and Rose Coker discuss the service organization’s work and mission.
The Animal Foundation Opens New Wing
On Tuesday, The Animal Foundation opened the doors to its new Engelstad Foundation Adoption center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas firefighter skates from ice to fire
Darcy Loewen, a former pro hockey player, finds a new career as a North Las Vegas firefighter. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carnival AirShip floats over Las Vegas
Carnival Cruise flew a blimp over the LAs Vegas Valley on Thursday in a promotion for its new Carnival Panorama ship. (Mat luschek/Review-Journal)
Pedestrian dies after crash at Decatur and Alta
Las Vegas police investigate a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian at Decatur Boulevard and Alta Driver about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars Cosplayers Visit Sick Kids At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Members of Coruscant Base, a Star Wars cosplay group, visit kids at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Hail and wet snow in Las Vegas
The western edges of Las Vegas saw some hail and wet snow on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer Jim Rhodes lists his mansion for $30 million
Jim Rhodes, a developer, has listed his mansion in Spanish Hills community for $30 million. The mansion is situated on 2 acres of land and features 19,345 square feet of living space. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Court ruling brings hope to local Vietnam veteran
Blue Water Navy Veteran Michael Yates talks about possible medical benefits he could receive after a federal court ruling this week. Yates claims he was exposed to Agent Orange and attributes that to his health problems, which include cancer.
Las Vegas charter school excels in areas of greatest need
Mater Academy Mountain Vista charter school students excel despite the fact that half the students are English language learners and all qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in downtown Las Vegas
The 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, themed "Living the Dream: One People, One Nation, One Dream," took place in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New MLK freeway onramps
How to navigate the trio of new freeway onramps from Martin Luther King Boulevard. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Campus Village next to UNLV gets demolished
Demolition of Campus Village shopping center, on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV, begins to make way for new development.
Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like